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Thread: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

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    Question Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    I am in Year 10 in a school in semi-rural NSW. As subjects selection for my senior years is just coming up, I wanted to get some clarification on how everything works.

    Looking at websites on this subject, they all have a pretty clear message. Pick the subjects you like, you will do the best at these, gaining the best possible marks. However, when asking families who already have kids in Uni, the answers are not quite as similar.

    Firstly, some people are saying that doing a creative arts subject (art, drama, etc.) or a second language (e.g. Japanese) gains you more marks when entering Uni. Is this correct?

    Secondly, Extention 2 maths. As much as I've heard that picking subjects for scaling is useless unless you are good at the subject, apparently you get extra points when entering University if you have done this subject. Is this true? I'm okay at maths. If I study hard I personally think I should be able to do okay at Extention 2 Maths. But I would like to just pick Extention 1. I have a friend who is really good at mathematics who says that since the concepts in Extention 2 are so hard, you need to start going through the year 11 maths textbooks now, so you can go through the 12 ones next year. Is it actually necessary to go through the maths textbooks a year early? Furthermore, does doing maths extentions 2 give you extra marks when entering Uni?

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    Senior Member sida1049's Avatar
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    I am in Year 10 in a school in semi-rural NSW. As subjects selection for my senior years is just coming up, I wanted to get some clarification on how everything works.
    I'm impressed by how motivated you are and your willingness to plan ahead. This is definitely a great mindset to have not just for getting into uni, but doing well in uni, as well as in your future career.

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    Firstly, some people are saying that doing a creative arts subject (art, drama, etc.) or a second language (e.g. Japanese) gains you more marks when entering Uni. Is this correct?
    It depends on what you want to do at uni. From your BoS profile, it says that you're interested in IT, in which case art, drama and second language aren't very relevant and won't really give you any advantages when applying.

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    Secondly, Extention 2 maths. As much as I've heard that picking subjects for scaling is useless unless you are good at the subject, apparently you get extra points when entering University if you have done this subject. Is this true? I'm okay at maths. If I study hard I personally think I should be able to do okay at Extention 2 Maths. But I would like to just pick Extention 1. I have a friend who is really good at mathematics who says that since the concepts in Extention 2 are so hard, you need to start going through the year 11 maths textbooks now, so you can go through the 12 ones next year. Is it actually necessary to go through the maths textbooks a year early? Furthermore, does doing maths extentions 2 give you extra marks when entering Uni?
    If you are doing fine in maths so far, and is interested in learning much more powerful maths which is (a) very useful and (b) fascinating and surprising, then you should most definitely do Extension 2.

    Mathematics Extension 2 is a difficult HSC course, but compared to uni, it's more or less on par with the difficulty of many first year uni courses. You should treat Extension 2 like practice for how you will handle tough courses in uni. Even if you get 60% for an Extension 2 exam, you shouldn't be discouraged, because 100% there will be times in uni where you get 60% (or lower!) and have to push on. So the upshot here is that most HSC units are significantly easier than first year uni courses (the courses in your latter years of uni are significantly more difficult than first year uni), however Extension 2 isn't one of them, and this is a good thing because it means you get the chance to experiment and find out the best way to handle difficult subjects.

    You do not need to start preparing too early. As long as you're willing to read parts of textbooks weekly or use Google to help understand mathematical concepts taught to you during class, and willing to do your exercises, then you'll do just fine. This is how you should be studying during uni too. The main difficulty for most people when it comes to Extension 2 (particularly in schools where not many students take it) is that their teachers aren't very good at teaching the course. But that's where the textbook and googling comes in; you should get to the level where you're ready to self-study as much as necessary before you start uni.

    Yes, doing Extension 2 often gives you advantages in getting into uni, particularly for STEM degrees. In your case, IT is often either (a) an engineering degree, or (b) a science degree (majoring in computer science). Major unis like USYD and UNSW will often grant people who have done reasonably well in Extension 1 and Extension 2 "bonus ATAR points" towards STEM degrees. By reasonably well, this usually means the highest or the second highest bands (which, to be honest, isn't very hard to get).

    Finally, if you really are interested in IT, you should most definitely take up Extension 2. It helps to develop your ability to reason through difficult and complex problems, and being good at maths is extremely beneficial in IT and computer science in general. In fact, IT and computer science degrees will often require you to take up additional maths units at uni, so by doing Extension 2 for the HSC, you're not only preparing yourself for the maths required for IT/comp sci courses, but also for necessary maths courses you'll need to do.

    Hope this helps.

    Bachelor of Science (Advanced Mathematics) III, USYD

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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Thanks so much for that info! I am interested in an Electrical Engineering degree in Uni. So the bonus points you get when applying for Uni. When picking subjects, there isn't much use picking subjects like Languages or Creative Arts unless you are specifically wanting to do a Uni course related to said subjects? I plan on doing Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Maths and Extention 1, and probably Extention 2 Maths. I have not yet decided on the other subjects. Would something like Software, IT, Engineering or Electronics be a good idea?

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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    Thanks so much for that info! I am interested in an Electrical Engineering degree in Uni. So the bonus points you get when applying for Uni. When picking subjects, there isn't much use picking subjects like Languages or Creative Arts unless you are specifically wanting to do a Uni course related to said subjects? I plan on doing Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Maths and Extention 1, and probably Extention 2 Maths. I have not yet decided on the other subjects. Would something like Software, IT, Engineering or Electronics be a good idea?
    You should do software, especially if you have no experience in programming. One of my mates is doing Electrical engineering as a first year at the same uni as me and is struggling with programming. In first year you have to take some computing classes and as a Comp sci major I can assure you SDD helps a lot with these classes
    Last edited by Drdusk; 1 May 2019 at 10:06 PM.
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    listening to tapes Squar3root's Avatar
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by Drdusk View Post
    You should do software, especially if you have no experience in programming. One of my mates is doing Electrical engineering as a first year at the same uni as me and is struggling with programming. In first year you have to take some computing classes and as a Comp sci major I can assure you SDD helps a lot with these classes
    SDD does not help much, if at all. If you have an interest in pursuing engineering you should be aiming to do extension 2 math (ext 1 at least) as well as physics if you really wanted to. the other 2 subjects you pick can be whatever as no other HSC course will prep you for uni
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    listening to tapes Squar3root's Avatar
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    if you really wanted to learn programming, you can learn python, java, C/C++ in your spare time during high school
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    Thanks so much for that info! I am interested in an Electrical Engineering degree in Uni. So the bonus points you get when applying for Uni. When picking subjects, there isn't much use picking subjects like Languages or Creative Arts unless you are specifically wanting to do a Uni course related to said subjects? I plan on doing Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Maths and Extention 1, and probably Extention 2 Maths. I have not yet decided on the other subjects.
    stick with this if you're happy with it

    plus other subjects you mean english or you plan to do more than 10U for the HSC (in which case that is a terrible idea)

    Quote Originally Posted by thatdudeinthecorner View Post
    Would something like Software, IT, Engineering or Electronics be a good idea?
    nope unless if you had an interest in those
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by Drdusk View Post
    You should do software, especially if you have no experience in programming. One of my mates is doing Electrical engineering as a first year at the same uni as me and is struggling with programming. In first year you have to take some computing classes and as a Comp sci major I can assure you SDD helps a lot with these classes
    also one of your mates is probably struggling because programming is another way of thinking. you can't just start writing #include stdio.h main void and expect things to work. you have to work out the program logic then what steps you need to get there like if statements, functions, external library etc etc
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Physics, Chemistry, Advanced Maths and Extention 1, Extention 2 Maths and English. Forgot the English lol. I already know Arduino, C++, and a bit of C#. And yeah, I do have an interest in Software and Electronics.

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    Junior Member Drdusk's Avatar
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by Squar3root View Post
    SDD does not help much, if at all. If you have an interest in pursuing engineering you should be aiming to do extension 2 math (ext 1 at least) as well as physics if you really wanted to. the other 2 subjects you pick can be whatever as no other HSC course will prep you for uni
    The algorithm and problem solving skills I gained in writing pseudocode transitioned perfectly into the exercises and assignments we have to do in programming. I find the way of thinking I used to solve HSC algorithms is exactly the same as the way I solve our weekly exercises and assignments.

    Also many of the exercises are literally just different/harder versions of past hsc algorithm questions.

    Mind you I spent a lot of time on algorithms in software, so to an average student it wouldn't help much, but for me it did.

    Also yes I do agree 4U is going to be much more helpful, but HSC Physics, no way.
    UNSW:
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    Re: Question about getting into Australian Universities and the HSC

    Quote Originally Posted by Drdusk View Post
    The algorithm and problem solving skills I gained in writing pseudocode transitioned perfectly into the exercises and assignments we have to do in programming. I find the way of thinking I used to solve HSC algorithms is exactly the same as the way I solve our weekly exercises and assignments.

    Also many of the exercises are literally just different/harder versions of past hsc algorithm questions.

    Mind you I spent a lot of time on algorithms in software, so to an average student it wouldn't help much, but for me it did.

    Also yes I do agree 4U is going to be much more helpful, but HSC Physics, no way.
    yea fair enough algos/logic are very important in developing software but just like HSC physics it's more so u can just understand the concepts like for example current is inversely proportional to resistance and things like that.
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